Leitch researches after-school programs for children of migrant workers in China

September 14, 2016
Dr. Daniel Leitch

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — Dr. Daniel Leitch, associate professor in the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, and two other authors recently published a research article about the importance of after-school programs for children of migrant workers in Shanghai, China, in “Frontiers of Education in China,” a publication that aims to connect Chinese and international perspectives and create a platform for a deepening understanding of the global significance of Chinese education.

Co-authors include Shanji Song, a former student in the Master of Science in English Education program at UW-Platteville, and Ding Yan, professor at Fudan University in Shanghai, China.

“Increasing Social Inclusion for the Children of Migrant Workers in Shanghai, China: A Four-Year Longitudinal Study of a Non-Governmental, Volunteer-Led, After-School Program,” outlines the qualitative research techniques Leitch, Song and Yan used to explore the outcomes of an after-school program for the children of migrant workers. The study took place over a four-year period, with data being collected throughout.

Leitch said that in Shanghai alone, a city of approximately 24 million people, 6.87 million migrant workers do not have household registration papers, a prerequisite for their children’s full inclusion into the public education system. Furthermore, the quality of education in the rural areas from where the migrant workers originate lags behind Shanghai’s. Therefore, the migrant workers’ children face difficult challenges in reaching their career and educational goals. 

The Jiuqian Volunteer Center, an after-school program, relies on volunteers from nearby Fudan University, the public schools, the community and former program participants to provide mentoring and enrichment programs in academics and the arts.

Leitch’s research used the Jiuqian Volunteer Center as a case study to help identify effective practices, which increased the educational and vocational attainment of the program participants. More specifically, the study focused on the importance of vibrant social networks in assisting migrant workers and their families.

“The publication promises to provide an important point of reference for government officials, educators, policy planners, social service agencies and others involved in social and educational reforms in China,” said Leitch.

Closer to home, at UW-Platteville, Leitch’s research reinforces the importance the School of Education places on preparing future teachers for collaboration between students, home and community.

To read the full text of the forthcoming article, go to the university library’s EBSCOhost database: Frontiers of Education in China 2016, 11(2): 217–249.

Written by: Laurie Hamer, College of Liberal Arts and Education, 608-342-6191, hamerl@uwplatt.edu

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